Jane Merrick is the Political Editor of the Independent on Sunday. She has been a political journalist for seven years, previously working at the Press Association and the Daily Mail
Peter Mandelson gave a mixed speech just now - the first half was a bit stilted, maybe because it was his first conference performance for a long time. But the second half, tearing into the Tories, stirred the audience - although how Gordon Brown must be getting fed up with ministers talking about the future.
The PM will use the word "future" tomorrow too, but Mandelson's line that "British people have their minds on the future, and so do we" seemed to make Brown bristle slightly in his seat on the platform, because when many Labour supporters think about the future, GB isn't there.
A man from Labour's past is Neil Kinnock - who was watching Mandelson's speech from the wings. He clapped when the audience clapped, until a moment which seemed to hit him like a blow to the stomach. The Business Secretary said he, Mandelson, had fought five election campaigns for Labour and "deep in my guts" knew every time who would win and was right every time, including, he was afraid, in 1992. Suddenly, Lord Kinnock was no longer smiling.
At first, his head lowered slightly, but then he jutted his chin out of his shirt collar, and gazed at Mandelson with an even stare. He must have been aware that, in the minds of the audience would be flashing the image of him at the eve of election rally in Sheffield in April 1992, the mistaken triumphalism. What a fool he must have felt. Oh dear. Kinnock did not like that, not at all. Perhaps Kinnock remembered a conversation with Mandelson on the night of the Sheffield rally. "Of course we can win," Peter would have said, soothingly, "Of course."
There is only so much you can read into body language, but that five second moment was a scene of pure political theatre. Breathtaking.